Elton John warns small bands risk being ‘stranded in Dover’ due to Brexit bureaucracy | Ents & Arts News
Sir Elton John has warned that less established artists risk “being stranded in Dover” if the problems facing British musicians touring the EU post-Brexit are not resolved.
The star made the statement as part of an inquiry by a cross-party group of MPs and peers, who are urging the government to ‘break down the barriers’ of rising costs and red tape now associated with obtaining visas and transport of instruments since the United Kingdom left the European Union.
In 2021, artists like The Chemical Brothers, Blur, Primal Scream, small mixture and Radiohead were among dozens of acts who have joined the #LetTheMusicMove campaign against post-Brexit “bureaucracy”.
The government says it is helping musicians adapt to new arrangements.
But a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Music Group (APPG on Music), which includes more than 100 MPs and peers, now calls for the appointment of a “roving czar” to help resolve the issues.
Key issues include post-Brexit restrictions on short-term work in the EU for UK music workers and the inability to use UK trucks for UK musicians touring Europe, they say.
In his statement, Mr Elton said: “The government had a golden opportunity to address the issue as COVID shut down its tours.
“While progress has been made, this opportunity has been missed…
“The heartbeat and the future of our vibrant industry are at risk of being stranded in Dover through no fault of their own.”
“It could become an impossible dream”
In April, chart-topping British band White Lies were hit by trouble – forced to cancel a gig in Paris after their gear was “held back by Brexit legislation leaving England”.
Speaking about the experience, they said, “It cost the band (and our fans) financially and emotionally, and it shouldn’t have happened. We have the resources to pay experienced professionals to walk us through it. bureaucracy, but the reality for new acts is that filming in Europe could become an impossible dream.
“We welcome all proposals for additional funding, designated websites to provide clear guidance, cutting red tape and appointing a touring czar to help expedite all of the above. These changes can help help musicians and performers in this country so as not to become a cultural victim of Brexit.”
The APPG on Music report warns that UK music workers “face more costs, more complications and have fewer opportunities” since the UK left the EU at the end of January 2020, and claims that action is “urgently” needed.
The group is asking for improvements, including:
• The appointment of a “roving tsar” to coordinate the government’s response
• The creation of a “transitional support fund” to help UK music exporters cope with rising costs
• The government will work with EU countries on an agreement to cut red tape and costs
• An increase in the number of border points for checks
APPG on Music chairman Kevin Brennan, Labor MP for Cardiff West, said: “We’ve heard from across the UK music industry about some of the horrific issues that musicians and crew face on tour. in the EU.
“More than two years have passed since Brexit, but there is still a mountain of red tape and additional costs that musicians and crew have to deal with before they can play in front of fans in many EU states. …
“Without urgent action, there is a very real risk that the talent pool on which the UK music industry relies will be severely damaged for years to come.”
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, said the report “sets out with crystal clarity the challenges that many musicians and teams still face”.
He added: “The UK is a global music superpower – if we want that to continue then breaking down the barriers faced by touring musicians and letting the music move is essential to our mission.”
A government spokesperson told Sky News: “We are helping brilliant British musicians adjust to new arrangements and making touring easier.
“Following our engagement, 24 EU Member States, including the largest touring markets such as Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, have confirmed that they offer visa-free itineraries. or work permits for UK artists and other creative professionals.
“We continue to engage with the few remaining countries that do not offer visa-free or work permit-free routes.”